US District Court and Probation Office

Raleigh , NC
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Pro Se Law Clerk

US District Court and Probation Office
Raleigh, NC Full time
Posted on November 28, 2017

Position Overview

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina located in New Bern, NC is accepting applications for a Pro Se Law Clerk position. This position provides legal advice and assistance to the court in connection with pro se prisoner and non-prisoner petitions and complaints and will be assigned to United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan.

This position is being advertised at the JSP 11 - 14.   Applications that are received by the initial cut-off date of January 2, 2018, will be given first consideration.


Representative Duties

The Pro Se Law Clerk performs duties and responsibilities which include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Performs substantive screening before and after the filing of all prisoner petitions and complaints, including state and federal habeas corpus petitions, motions to vacate sentence actions under 18 U.S.C. 4248, and civil rights complaints
  • Reviews all complaints, petitions, and pleadings that have been filed to identify issues involved and basis for relief
  • Performs substantive screening of other pro se litigation
  • Drafts appropriate recommendations and dispositive orders for the court's signature
  • Conducts research to assist the court in preparing opinions
  • Maintains liaison between the court and litigants
  • Reviews the docket of pending prisoner litigation to assure the timely progression of such cases in order to meet all deadlines and advises the court of those cases where action by the court is appropriate
  • Prepares non-dispositive orders
  • Assists the court with hearings, conferences, trials and other proceedings
  • Compiles statistics and prepares periodic reports, as required, which reflect the status and flow of cases
  • Evaluates present procedures to determine new innovations for increasing the effectiveness of handling complaints, petitions, and pleadings
  • Identifies problem areas, makes recommendations, and offers solutions, as required by the court, Administrative Office and other officials
  • Keeps abreast of changes in the law to aid the court in adjusting to new legislation in the pro se area
  • Performs other duties as assigned



To qualify for the position of pro se law clerk, the individual must be a law school graduate (or certified as having completed all law school studies and requirements and merely awaiting conferment of degree) and have standing within the upper third of the graduating class.  In addition, the applicant must have excellent academic credentials, as well as superior research, writing, proofreading, organization, and communication skills.  The applicant must possess proficient typing and personal computer skills and be competent in WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, and additional Windows-based applications.  Desirable qualifications include: detail oriented, reliable, ability to work independently and with others.  A judicial employee must maintain a professional appearance and demeanor at all times. 
Preferences: Bar membership is preferred.  Prior federal court experience, including prisoner civil-rights cases, prison condition cases, federal and state habeas corpus petitions, and motions to vacate is preferred.  Prior experience as a pro se or death penalty law clerk is preferred.


Conditions of Employment

Applicants must be United States citizens or lawful permanent residents actively seeking citizenship. Judicial Branch employees are considered "at will" employees and are not subject to the employment regulations of competitive service. However, judiciary employees are entitled to benefits similar to those of other government employees including:  paid annual and sick leave, ten paid holidays per year, health and life insurance, a flexible benefits program, a portable retirement plan with matching contributions, and a professional environment.  Salary will be based on experience and qualifications. Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) for payroll deposit is required.
Applicants will be required to submit to a background investigation (including references, criminal history, and credit history) prior to an offer of employment being made. The person selected for this position will also be required to submit fingerprints for an FBI background check.  Funding for this position is reviewed annually and is contingent upon the number of case filings and budgetary constraints.
Application Procedures
All interested persons should apply online by visiting and submit an application package which is to include: a cover letter, resume, a brief writing sample, copy of law school transcript, three (3) employment references, and, Form AO 78, Application for Judicial Branch Federal Employment, which may be obtained at (Download PDF reader).
Travel and relocation expenses will not be reimbursed. The court provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. All employees are required to adhere to the "Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees" which is available for review upon request. The court reserves the right to modify the conditions of this job announcement, to withdraw the job announcement, or to fill the position at any time before the closing date, any of which actions may occur without any prior written or other notice. Due to the volume of applications received, only candidates in consideration for this position will be contacted.

The Federal Judiciary offers a wide range of benefits and choices so employees can create a package that best suits their individual needs. 

Health Insurance

The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) offers employees more than ten (10) health plan options to choose from that provide comprehensive medical benefits including preventative care, doctor's office visits, hospitalization, surgery, and prescription drugs with no pre-existing condition limitations.  FEHB has a few plan types with several health carriers in each plan: Fee-for-Service (FSS- equivalent to a PPO), Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Consumer Driven Plans and High-Deductible Plans.

On average, the federal government pays 70% of health plan premiums while employees pay the remaining premium through payroll deductions.

Supplemental Dental & Vision Insurance

Employees are eligible to participate in dental and vision coverage through the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). The supplemental dental and vision program provides a selection of dental and/or vision plans for federal employees and their families at a group rate. Employees are responsible for the full group rate premium which is paid through pre-tax payroll deductions.

Life Insurance

Life Insurance can provide peace of mind and financial protection for employees and their loved ones. By way of the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program, employees are offered Basic Life Insurance with options to increase coverage and elect coverage for eligible dependents. The federal government pays approximately 1/3 of the Basic Life premium and employees are responsible for paying the remaining 2/3, which is paid via post-tax payroll deductions.

Long Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance (LTC) can protect an employee's financial future by helping to pay the high cost of long-term care. Long-term care insurance programs include coverage for nursing home care (all levels received in a licensed facility), community-based care (assisted living facilities, adult daycare and home health services), hospice center, caregiver support and alternative plans of care.

Flexible Benefits Program

The Flexible Benefits Program allows employees to increase their take home pay by using the Judiciary's pre-tax options for health care, dependent care, and health insurance premiums. The program has three key components: the Healthcare Reimbursement Account, the Dependent Care Reimbursement Account and the Premium Payment Plan.

Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)

Recognizing the importance of an employee's future, the federal government provides its employees a retirement program called the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). It is a three-tiered retirement plan that enables employees to take an active role in securing a strong financial foundation for their retirement. All federal employees are automatically enrolled and may file for retirement once they meet the eligibility requirements. The three components of the plan are the FERS Basic Benefit, Social Security, and Thrift Savings Plan.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

TSP is a savings and investment program designed to provide retirement income. It is an important component to the FERS Retirement Plan. It is comparable to a private-sector tax-deferred 401(k) plan, which offers both a traditional and a Roth contribution option, tax deferral on traditional contributions, agency matching, a choice of 5 investment funds, a loan program and a choice of post-separation withdrawal options.

Vacation/Sick/Other Leave

To assist eligible employees with maintaining a healthy work/life balance, the Judiciary offers a generous amount of leave through a combination of federal holidays, annual (vacation) leave and sick leave. Full time employees with less than three (3) years of service accrue approximately 2.5 weeks of annual leave per year. This increases to 4 weeks from years 3-14, and up to 5 weeks each year when an employee has reached 15 years or more of service. In addition to annual (vacation) leave, full time employees also accrue approximately 2.5 weeks of sick leave each year and are given ten (10) paid federal holidays.

Wellness Program

The Judiciary recognizes that a positive sense of well-being amongst its employees is a key component of a healthy and productive employee.  Wellness activities may include on-site fitness facility, wellness challenges and incentives, annual health fair, stress reduction and health eating programs.

Worker's Compensation

Employees are covered by the provisions of the Federal Employees' Compensation Act, 5 U.S.C. § 8101 et seq., which allows compensation for injuries sustained while in the performance of duty or to employment-related disease.

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free, confidential benefit that offers professional counseling and referral services that can help employees and their families successfully deal with life's challenges. The program offers assessments, short-term counseling, referral and follow-up for employees confronted with family and marital problems, financial challenges, legal obstacles, or symptoms of stress and other emotional conditions.


$60,210.00 - $131,833.00  Annually
Job Type:
Full Time

Job Number18-03

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